Tag Archives: mothers

standing in my truth with shoes that finally fit

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino

cristina carlinomy last two blogs i wrote about “hands and knees” – a song i co-wrote with my friend, stuart mathis, two years after i sold my majority interest in philosophy. the lyrics speak to the effects i saw corporate america having on the women i worked with and loved as my own days at philosophy came to an end.  “honey i’m beat” is the cry of each chorus.   what i could not see at the time was how truly beat i was as well as a working woman failing as an executive chairman by day and, too often as a mother and partner by night.  i was on route to my own break that was decades in the making.   this is my story and truth that i have shared only with those closest to me until now as i near the end of my time as a spokesperson for philosophy.

to start, i began working when i was 16. i had always been an excellent student in high school who graduated with not enough courage or self worth to go to college so i signed up for  vocational beauty school with a friend  so i could learn to cut hair by day with fantasies of singing in her band by night. i was a failure at beauty school and dropped out at one point.  eventually i returned and earned my hours by working as the school’s receptionist.  looking back, what i was proficient at was understanding the physiology of hair, skin and nails. i loved it.  i just couldn’t read enough about it.  soon after i graduated, i went into business for myself with the help of my mother. i began putting fairly sophisticated product lines and procedures together for doctors based on my experience as their patient who suffered from both acne and very sensitive skin. when i was  29,  i founded biomedic and at age 36, philosophy.  all expected of me by no one. especially me. i loved my life and the success of the companies. biomedic was a brain child and philosophy a love child. i thought of them as my babies until at age 40 when i got pregnant for the first time. also unexpected.  i finally got to look up from my desk long enough to ask, “what am i doing?”.

soon i realized, like so many working moms, that i wasn’t doing well as both a working woman and a mom. i knew the first time i looked in grace’s eyes that my own personal available decision would be to  put my company up for sale as soon as it was ready.  that time came and the buyer was an iconic wall street corporation.  when i sold philosophy,  the plan was i would  step down as ceo and still be  the executive chairman and creative life force working 20 hours a week from home or the office which  was perfect as it took little  time away from my daughter. the security of that role was important to me because creating was what i did and i was still deeply invested in the brand. be that as it may, my truth was that my heart would prove to be far too soft for big corporate america.  at philosophy, we operated as friends and family, which was all i knew, and for me that type of culture really worked.  now i was a creative visionary that had been moved from a sandbox into what felt like a giant battlefield  with tanks coming through.

soon there would be all new heads of heads and my creative vision was just in the way of the new direction they wanted to take the brand. i realized i had sold a home with myself in it.  it was hard on everyone and brutal on me the day i got a call that my creative services were no longer needed.

although i had gotten what i wanted in  the  privilege of being able to be with my daughter,  decades of what i thought was my  identity as a business creator were swooped away in a phone call.  that call sent me into the dark.

today, after four years under the brilliance and expertise of the carlyle group,  philosophy has a new home with coty and i couldn’t be happier. we all get along beautifully.   while i have clocked a lot of time as a home mommy which i love more than anything, my life, like everyone else’s still has its share of stress, fear and resistance to more change.  and yet for me the truth is still i have never felt so much at peace.

that said, the truth is also that an event, a phone call, may appear to change our lives in an instant, but the emotional transition is never an event.  it is a process.  and mine has been a long ongoing often very painful one.  the call that  put me face to face with what i named my “beautiful beast” became a next  song for me and  a mid life  journey and journal that i will share you with you soon.

ultimately it is about what connects us to what truly matters – the moment and our capacity to love not just others but ourselves enough to say “enough”!

with peace and gratitude,

cristina

 

 

 

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women at work- living in our truth

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino
cristina carlinoin last week’s blog i told you the beginning of my personal story  about  “hands and knees, ” a song i wrote  with my friend, stuart mathis.  the song was about standing in our truth and the effects i saw  corporate america having on the women i worked with  as my days at philosophy came to an end.

“honey i’m beat” was the “battle cry” in each chorus. and truly we were. i saw it suddenly and profoundly one otherwise ordinary morning as many of us gathered around the conference room table.  we were highly competent, dedicated, with and with without children and lives packed with responsibilities to be met even before we entered the office.  like women in offices around the country, we were grateful to be employed, enjoying our work and at the same time torn and teetering on the brink of exhaustion. we were on our way to what i saw then as an invisible breaking point.  what i could not see then was how mightily that point was also heading toward me.

for thirty years i had been a skin expert  but i couldn’t see that over the years my own beautiful skin was slowly morphing into something more like a suit of armor.  what was once soft was now a false, impenetrable shield between me and harm.  but the problem with a shield is while it keeps some bad things out it also can not possibly let other good things in.  in my case these were more love and self awareness.  as philosophy grew bigger as a company my skin along with my co workers kept stretching as we pulled on imaginary fire hoses to put out fires every day.  the stress is collective but so also are the rewards.

and that is the good part – the wonderful things about corporate America.   i loved creating and birthing philosophy.  i love philosophy today and am so proud of all of those who create and continue to grow philosophy without me.  i am eternally grateful for the joy and relationships and all i have learned and earned for all of my efforts.  but i hope you will never assume that there is not a price paid for each and every dollar we all earn regardless if our jobs are in an executive office or in shipping.  because there is.  and i was no exception.

and throughout, creating was the happiest and most exhilarating thing i got to do on my job and on too many days to count only for five minutes.  it brought me great joy.  joy is creative.  it fills our hearts and lights up our faces and lifts us from our hands and knees.  i believe it is our job one responsibility to ourselves.  so i’m curious to hear how you cultivate your creativity at your job today. in what small or bigger ways.  either alone or with a coworker or team.

do you allow yourself to daydream?   (it’s a great tool for problem solving)

do you let yourself enjoy your skills and talents without judgment?

do you celebrate your successes with each other?   the little and big ones?

do you trust yourself?  your instincts?  do you believe that creativity is trusting?

now  i spend several hours a day  at home  creating from a visionary place in soft skin with an equally soft heart.    some ideas are pretty good.  most will never see the light of day.  it doesn’t matter.  either way i’m here on the floor often stretched out on the floor with pen and paper in hand  or, you got it, on my hands and knees. the song and lyrics to “hands and knees” indeed ended up being the prelude to the invisible breaking point i could not see coming.  that moment did come for me.   and with it another song and a transformation that i am excited to begin sharing with you in my next blog.

peace and blessings,

cristina